Montana State Legislature
Powertools for Legislators
A clearinghouse of information available to Montana legislators interested in exploring policy areas, researching subjects for potential bill drafts, navigating agency oversight, and keeping up-to-date with legislative interim activities.
2021 Bill Summary 2021 Bill Summary by Topic Legislative News
Tools for Expanding Oversight
The Legislature through its legislative committees carries out formal and informal inquiries, investigations, reviews and studies on a variety of subjects. The review of agency rules and activities, as well as studies and lengthier investigations, usually take place during the interim between the sessions. To learn more, visit the interim committee websites.
Secretary of State
The Montana Secretary of State’s Administrative Rules Services publishes the administrative rules promulgated by state agencies. Administrative rules are developed under a process outlined in the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. That process requires state agencies to provide notice to the public when they wish to adopt, amend or repeal administrative rules. The notices are compiled in the Montana Administrative Register (MAR). Once adopted, administrative rules are published in the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) and have the force of law.
Interim Committee Rule Review Authority
Interim committees play a significant role in the administrative rulemaking process(ARM) and are authorized to review administrative rules for compliance with the Montana Administrative Procedure Act(MAPA). More information about administrative rules, legislative rule review, committee objections, legislative oversight committees, and proposed rules may be accessed here.
- Department of Administration
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Corrections
- Department of Environmental Quality
- Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
- Commissioner of Higher Education
- Department of Justice
- Department of Labor and Industry
- Department of Livestock
- Department of Military Affairs
- Montana Public Employees Retirement Administration
- Montana Tax Appeal Board
- Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
- Board of Public Education
- Department of Public Health and Human Services
- Public Service Commission
- Department of Revenue
- Commissioner of Securities and Insurance
- Department of Transportation
Legislative Audit Committee and Division Authority
The conducts independent audits and provides factual and objective information to the legislative, judicial, and executive managers of the public trust. The Legislative Audit Division operates a toll-free telephone hotline that enables state employees and the public to report improper acts committed by state departments, agencies, or employees.
The financial-compliance audit staff perform audits of state agencies and local governments in accordance with applicable audit standards to determine whether an entity’s financial operations are properly conducted, the financial reports are presented fairly, and the entity has complied with applicable laws and regulations. Legislators, legislative committees or other interested parties can request a performance audit be conducted for any program, activity, or policy issue affecting state government.
Legislative Council, Interim Committees, and Legislative Services Division Authority
The Legislative Council is the administrative committee for the Legislative Services Division. Staff provides research and legal support for the interim committees and provides services to all legislators during the interim. Interim committees of the legislature conduct agency oversight. This includes reviewing and monitoring rules proposed by various agencies. It includes consistent involvement in agency activities and reporting to committees. It may include evaluations of programs within the agency, reports on the implementation of existing laws and rules by agencies, summaries of timely program issues, and interviews with program personnel.
- The Children and Families Interim Committee monitors the activities and programs of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
- The Economic Affairs Interim Committee monitors the activities and programs of the State Auditor, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Livestock, Montana State Fund, Banking and Financial Institutions Division, Alcohol Beverage Control Division, and Governor's Office of Economic Development.
- The Education Interim Committee monitors the activities of the State Board of Education, the Board of Public Education, the Board of Regents of Higher Education, and the Office of Public Instruction.
- The Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee monitors the activities of the Montana Public Service Commission.
- The Environmental Quality Council monitors the activities of the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
- The Law and Justice Interim Committee monitors the activities of the Office of the State Public Defender, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice, and any entities attached to those agencies for administrative purposes.
- The Revenue Interim Committee monitors the activities of the Montana Department of Revenue and the Montana Tax Appeal Board.
- The State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Committee monitors the activities of the Department of Administration, Public Employees' Retirement Board, Teachers' Retirement Board, State Lottery Commission, Department of Military Affairs, Board of Veterans' Affairs, Secretary of State's Office, and Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices.
- The Transportation Interim Committee monitors the activities of the Montana Department of Transportation and the Motor Vehicle Division at the Department of Justice.
- The Water Policy Interim Committee monitors the activities of the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks that are related to water quality and water quantity.
Legislative Finance Committee and Fiscal Division Authority
The Legislative Finance Committee is also engaged in oversight of the state budget when the Legislature is not in session. The committee, through the fiscal division reviews and comments on budget amendments, reductions in spending, proposed supplemental appropriations to transfer appropriations between fiscal years of a biennium, operating budget changes, and program transfers.The committee receives revenue and budget reports on specific state financial matters. Division staff provide an impartial estimation of state revenue during the legislative session and throughout the interim.
During the interim, the fiscal division also monitors information technology policies of the Department of Administration and provides written comment on proposed policy changes.
Children, Families, Health, and Human Services
Districting and Apportionment Commission
Information Technology Planning Council
State Administrative and Veterans' Affairs
Tools for Contacting State Employees
Key State Employees by Agency State Employees By Name
Tools for Expanding Expertise
The Legislative Services Division offers a brief history on the subject matter of a bill draft request prior to drafting. (5-4-105, MCA; Chapter 309, Laws of 2017) The history, formerly know as a primer, includes related legislation introduced over the last five sessions and hyperlinks to the bill, hearing information, and fiscal notes. The list below is not intended to be exhaustive. Contact your drafter for more information.
- 24-7 Monitoring Program
- Bounty Hunters
- County Detention Centers/Jails
- DNA Evidence
- Domestic Violence
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Drug Crime
- Firearms Generally
- Human Trafficking
- Jail Diversion Programs
- Juvenile Justice
- Minor in Possession
- Orders of Protection
- Parole and Executive Clemency
- Persistent Felony Offenders
- Physician Assisted Suicide
- Public Defenders
- Restitution, Fines, Fees, and Surcharges for Criminal Convictions
- Sex Offenders
- Solitary Confinement
- Victim Services/Victim Rights
- Assistance for Volunteer Firefighters
- Minimum Wage - Overtime
- Montana State Fund Revisions
- Paid Sick Leave or Family Medical Leave
- Public-Private Partnerships
- Presumptive Illness -- Firefighters
- Prevailing Wages
- Workers' Compensation Subrogation
- Workers' Compensation Treating Physicians
- Alcohol Taxes
- Centrally Assessed Property Taxation
- Corporate Income Tax
- Gasoline and Special Fuels Tax
- General Sales Tax (Statewide)
- Local Option Sales Tax
- Lodging Tax
- Opportunity Zones: Federal and State Laws
- Property Tax
- Property Tax Assistance Programs
- Property Tax Exemptions
- Rental Car Tax
- Tax Liens and Tax Deeds
- Tax Increment Financing
- Tobacco Tax
- Utility Tax Tracker
The following documents and web pages, published by the Legislative Branch (except where noted otherwise), were produced to help legislators more effectively fulfill the duties and obligations of their official positions.
- Interim Services Available to Legislators (2017)
- Bill Drafting Manual (2016)
- Conference Committees: A Legislator's Guide to Reconciling Bill Differences Between Chambers (2017) PDF
- District Census Data (Montana Department of Commerce)
- District Snapshots (Montana State Library)
- From Idea to Introduction: A Guide for Legislators on Requesting & Sponsoring Bills PDF
- Legislator's Handbook (2017)
- Legislative Leadership: A Guide to Roles & Responsibilities PDF
- Life after Sine Die: A Guide to Interim Activities PDF
- Presiding Officer Manual (2017)
- Rules of the Montana Legislature (2017)
- "Training Up" - New Legislator Orientation Video (2010)
- Understanding State Finances & the Budgeting Process
- Tribal Nations in Montana: A Handbook for Legislators (2016)
National Conference of State Legislatures
A bipartisan organization, NCSL serves legislators and legislative staffs. This site provides legislative information and links relevant government sites. The Montana Legislature is a dues-paying member.
Council of State Governments
CSG is an association of the governments of states and territories. This site provides information on a multitude of issues of state concern. The Montana Legislature is a dues-paying member.
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
This site provides information on activities promoting uniformity of state laws when such uniformity is helpful and possible. Drafts of proposed acts are provided in cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
State Legislative Leaders Foundation
SLLF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan independent research and education foundation governed exclusively by sitting state legislative leaders.
National Caucus of Native American State Legislators
Founded in 1992, the caucus is a partnership of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Congress of American Indians.
Education Commission of the States
The Education Commission of the States was created by states, for states, in 1965. It tracks state policy trends, translates academic research, provides unbiased advice, and creates opportunities for state leaders to learn from one another.
American Legislative Exchange Council
A nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.
National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS)
NCLGS is a group of representatives from gaming states that meet semi-annually to discuss gambling issues with regulators, stakeholders, and industry types. Unlike most gaming conferences where the focus is on the industry, at NCLGS, the focus is on state lawmakers.
Women in Government (WIG)
Women In Government is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization of women state legislators. Women In Government has provided leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources for 30 years on policy issues such as education, energy, the environment, healthcare, technology, transportation, and more.
National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL)
NCOIL is a legislative organization comprised principally of legislators serving on state insurance and financial institutions committees around the nation. NCOIL writes Model Laws in insurance, works to both preserve the state jurisdiction over insurance as established by the McCarran-Ferguson Act seventy years ago and to serve as an educational forum for public policy makers and interested parties.
Women Legislators' Lobby (WiLL)
The Women Legislators' Lobby (WiLL) is a national nonpartisan network of women state legislators who work together to influence federal policy and budget priorities.
State Innovation Exchange (SiX)
he State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that supports state legislators in advancing and defending progressive policies across the country.
National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)
The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators empowers a nonpartisan network of legislative champions to protect, conserve, and improve the natural and human environment.
National Women's Law Center
The Center has worked for more than 40 years to protect and promote equality and opportunity for women and families and champion policies and laws that help women and girls achieve their potential at every stage of their lives — at school, at work, at home, and in retirement.
National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL)
The mission of NFWL is to provide strategic resources to elected women for leadership development, exchange of diverse legislative ideas, and effective governance through conferences, state outreach, educational materials, professional and personal relationships, and networking. We encourage the election and/or appointment of women to public office.